If there’s one thing we’ve learned as Browns fans about general manager John Dorsey, it’s that he’s not afraid to make huge moves to acquire talent. In just two off-seasons, he’s completely overhauled the Cleveland Browns, and he’s taken them from 0-16, to what looks like a possible playoff team on paper. With the off-season additions of superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr, Pro Bowl edge rusher Olivier Vernon, and another strong rookie class headlined by CB Greedy Williams, the Browns should be a much-improved team heading into training camp under first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens.
Assuming the Browns and quarterback Baker Mayfield make the leap they’re expected to, they could be entering the start of a championship window while their two most valuable players, Baker Mayfield and Myles Garrett, are still on their rookie deals.
However, this team definitely still has some holes to fill, and they’re desperately searching to improve the quality of the depth on the roster. One area that could be improved is the offensive tackle position. The Browns currently have Cam Hubbard locked up on the right side and they re-signed left tackle Greg Robinson to a one-year contract after he helped solidify the line the second half of the season last year. While both of these players are serviceable, John Dorsey could look to upgrade the position to better protect their Brett Favre-esque gunslinger, Baker Mayfield. Then again, franchise left tackles are difficult to come by, and Joe Thomas is irreplaceable, but Trent Williams reportedly wants out of Washington. Williams is a 30-year-old seven-time pro bowler who has proven year in and year out to be one of the best left tackles in the NFL.
Could Dorsey try to make another blockbuster trade for training camp?
At this point, it’s known that Baker Mayfield loves to scramble to the right side and make plays outside of the pocket. Eventually, teams will more than likely try to contain that by pressuring that side because it seems that’s when Baker is the most dangerous, so he’ll probably have to make more plays on the left side of the field this year as a result. Having Trent Williams give Baker that extra little bit of time could make a world of difference in his development with creating while rolling left along with giving him even more confidence in the pocket, so there’s certainly reason to think this trade could be extremely beneficial rather than just a simple upgrade.
I’m not sure how likely a deal for Trent Williams would be because the Browns’ brain trust might have enough faith in Greg Robinson to roll with him for the season. While Williams would definitely be a massive upgrade, he also has slightly more than double the cap hit, so the Browns would need to make sure they’re getting a good deal to make taking on that extra salary worth it if they decide to pull the trigger. The trade would likely send a pick or picks to Washington rather than any players, but it’s possible they could convince them to take Greg Robinson and a pick instead. The second would be significantly better for Cleveland because they wouldn’t be responsible for both their salaries even though they could feasibly afford it either way.
Without Greg Robinson or any other player included in the deal, I wouldn’t pay more than a 3rd or 4th round pick to take on that contract, especially since Cleveland’s line played so well down the stretch last year. Freddie Kitchens also has a pretty brilliant offensive mind, so there’s reason to believe that he could scheme around Cleveland’s weaknesses most of the time if Greg did happen to disappoint.
Ideally, the deal would be for Greg Robinson and something like a 5th round pick. Washington has no leverage since Williams wants out, and they would get a massive contract off their books two years early while getting a pick and serviceable player back, which could really help push along their rebuild. The Browns would get one of the premier left tackles in the NFL without having to grossly overpay, which should help along with Baker’s development bringing them closer to Super Bowl contention. If both sides could come to an agreement, the trade could be a win-win, but there’s no reason for either team to get desperate and make a deal unless the price is right.